UPDATE: The Barons of Tang's Julian Cue talks gypsy music, Tropical Heatwave and coming to America
*** UPDATE *** So, as soon as we posted this interview, we saw this notice from WMNF saying the Barons of Tang had run into visa problems and would not be performing at Tropical Heatwave. That's a bummer, because they were one of the bands we were most excited about seeing. At any rate, we might as well post the original interview, for all you bummed Barons fans out there. The original interview is after the jump.
This year’s Tropical Heatwave lineup features several bands who play gypsy-inspired music. One of them is Melbourne, Australia’s Barons of Tang, a self-described “gypsy deathcore” band who will make their U.S. debut this weekend with a show Friday night at Skipper’s Smokehouse and Saturday at 7:35 p.m. in the Cuban Club Bandshell.
We asked bassist Julian Cue about the band’s maiden voyage to the States.
How did it come to pass that your first American show will be in Tampa?
Well, it’s actually a terribly boring “behind the scenes” story involving agents and emails and application forms. But now that that stuff is out of the way, I can’t tell you how excited the band is to be playing Tropical Heatwave. Often we get these festival bookings and only have a very general idea what the gig’s about, but after researching past lineups and articles about the festival I can’t wait to be there. It’s definitely our bag!
Do you have a full American tour lined up?
We’ll be touring solidly through the states for two months — L.A., N.Y.C., Seattle, Portland, Denver, Chicago, Milwaukee and many more. I’m not sure what the total amount of gigs we’re doing is, but it’s a lot. We tour a lot in and around Australia, so we’re used to being on the road, but there’s definitely something a bit more romantic about getting in a van and driving our way across the U.S.A. I’m gonna get a new tattoo in every state. Three cheers for good life decisions.
Have any of you traveled to the United States before? What sort of things do you want to see and do on this trip?
I was in the States when I was 5 years old, but that doesn’t really count, does it? The main thing I want to do is check out as much music and art as I can. The Barons come from a pretty thriving music/arts scene in Melbourne, but in comparison it’s quite small. I want to see what’s getting people excited these days. I want to hear sounds I’ve not heard before.
Some people might see a label like “gypsy deathcore” and scratch their heads. How do you explain gypsy music to outsiders?
Well the label “gypsy” is used to describe music originating from Eastern Europe/the Middle East and even India sometimes. It’s a very general description, but I think that’s fine because it can often be hard to identify the folk musics from different regions. Every place has their own folk music.
The music the Barons of Tang play takes bits and pieces of these feels and gaffer-tapes them together with punk and other more modern forms of music. It tends to sound pretty weird and wonderful. We’re always trying to innovate in our compositions. We try to create music that’s not been heard before, but at the same time we’re highly influenced by where we come from and the music we listen to. We are in fact a mini-orchestra and we write songs that way. I’m really interested to see how American audiences react to us. Playing to new audiences is pretty much the best thing about being in this band. I think it’s going to be a crazy ride for us.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*